Largely because of John McCain, a huge number of Americans are considerably poorer today. Like, me.
My wife and I have balanced investments in stocks and bonds, so we aren't down as much as the 7% to 9% drop in the equity markets. Still, we've lost a bunch of money.
And if the House Republicans don't get their act together soon, putting the country before politics, it's likely that even more financial blood will be on their hands.
Those Republicans voted against the bailout by more than 2 to 1. McCain said at last week's debate that he likely would vote for the bailout. He made a big deal out of coming to Washington to show what a great leader he is.
Yet he couldn't bring along members of his own party, and he sat mute during the White House meeting on the bailout proposal.
Pretty crappy leadership.
The differing reactions of Obama and McCain to the House vote say a lot about what sort of president each would be. Obama called for calm and patience, while McCain made partisan attacks.
This is just what we saw at the first presidential debate: Obama's firm crispness, McCain's sarcastic snippiness.
Economist Paul Krugman wrote about the readiness of the two men to take a 3 am economic crisis call.
So what do we know about the readiness of the two men most likely to end up taking that call? Well, Barack Obama seems well informed and sensible about matters economic and financial. John McCain, on the other hand, scares me.
Krugman describes how McCain has flipped and flopped his way to his current whatever non-stand on the bailout bill.
The real revelation of the last few weeks, however, has been just how erratic Mr. McCain's views on economics are. At any given moment, he seems to have very strong opinions — but a few days later, he goes off in a completely different direction.
Early on, Obama laid out principles that the bailout plan should adhere to. I haven't seen anything like that from McCain. He just meanders in the direction that seems most apt to score political points for him and shore up his faltering poll numbers.
I don't like losing money. But I can get some satisfaction from the fact that today's historic drop in the Dow shows up the incompetence of McCain and his Republican cronies in the House.
The day's loss knocked out approximately $1.2 trillion in market value, the first post-$1 trillion day ever, according to a drop in the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000, the broadest measure of the stock market.
The bailout price is $700 billion, at most (probably much less, since the government would recoup a good share of the cost when the housing market rebounds).
McCain admits that he doesn't know much about economics. His failed leadership on the bailout plan demonstrates this.
Memo to Senator McCain: $1.2 trillion is more than $700 billion.
[Update: It took me a while to understand Rep. Barney Frank's comment about today's bailout vote being "one of the truly great coincidences in the history of numerology."
But now I see what he meant about "the number of deeply offended Republicans who put feeling over country turned out to be exactly the number you would need to reverse the vote."
Frank is referring to the absurd GOP claim that Nancy Pelosi's floor speech before the vote, where she properly castigated eight years of Bushonomics, caused the bailout plan to fail.
Cleverly (almost too clever for me), Frank points out that it would indeed be a remarkable coincidence if the number of Republicans offended by Pelosi's remarks was exactly the margin by which the plan was defeated. That's what would need to have happened to be able to pin the blame, however loosely, on Pelosi.]